Guest Post: Elijah Oyenuga is one of the Summer Jobs Student working at the Boston Bar Association. He recently graduated from Another Course to College in Brighton and will be attending Lesley University next year.
On the 14th of July the BBA granted me, as well as this year’s Judicial Interns, the much-appreciated opportunity to take a tour of the United States Bankruptcy Courthouse. As we approached the building, I was in complete awe: the outside of this Federal building was immaculate. However, the exterior was nothing compared to its interior design. Complete with shiny tiled flooring and golden elevator doors, it was a sight to behold, especially for an architectural geek like me.
During the tour, we were able to learn about the inner workings of this specific courthouse. I was surprised to learn that the courtrooms were completely paperless, which truly distinguished it from other courthouses I’ve visited. The technology built into the courtrooms allowed attorneys and the Judge to display their documents on their spread-out screens; they were even able to mark up their documents in real life on Apple iPads. The most distinguishable element of this courtroom was that rather than typing everything being said, the stenographer simply monitored the courtroom’s recording technology—editing it in real time in order to be used either in the same or future hearings. It was described as “the next step in stenography evolution” by the Judge.
Before we listened in on the two hearings, we were granted permission to explore the Judge’s chambers. What I thought would be a small room with one round table ended up looking more like a modest apartment. Inside the chambers, we were able to meet Judge Frank J. Bailey, who generously took time out of his day to give us a few laughs and to educate us on what bankruptcy law is really about: a fresh start for the honest debtor.
We also attended a pre-trial hearing and a motion hearing. The motion hearing was presented by the lawyer for a husband and wife who had completed a Bankruptcy plan and are attempting to sell their house. In order to do so, the couple was asking the court to issue an order that the second mortgage was discharged. The other matter was a pre-trial hearing about a man who allegedly squandered the money in his family’s estate, which was once worth millions of dollars but is now virtually worthless. He is now being sued by his family. Although the legal jargon was confusing and extensive at times, it was still very interesting to see how the proceedings were carried out. I look forward to more opportunities like this throughout my summer at the Boston Bar Association.